You may choose to garden on the balcony, patio, or porch for many reasons. If you move into an apartment or have a rental home where you cannot till the yard, you can still garden. No space is too small to grow plants. Attractive pots, half-barrels, window boxes, and cast-iron planters are available to house your plants. Here are some tips for creating a garden in a small space.
Planning a Small Garden
There are some good first steps to planning a garden. First, determine what purpose this space will serve. Do you want to grow vegetables, herbs, or flowers? Next, walk around your allotted garden space and look at what you already have. Chairs and a small table will make a welcome seating area in your garden. Take inventory of the pots and planters you own and determine how much soil and amendments you’ll need to purchase.
When assessing your space, clear out the clutter. If you don’t love it or haven’t used something in the past year, repurpose it or donate the item to a charity.
Finally, make a list of things you’ll need to create your ideal garden. You might want to add a small fountain, a birdfeeder, a bench, or a swing.
Choosing Plants for a Small-Space Garden
Pay attention to the amount of sunlight in your garden space. Some flowers and most vegetables need 6 – 8 hours of sun every day. When buying plants, read the care labels so that you know their needs. You can find plants for full sun, partial sun, and partial shade. Plants such as begonia, coleus, and fuchsia prefer shaded areas while geraniums, marigolds, and petunias enjoy full sun.
If you planting in a windy area, avoid fragile plants. Choose plants that are wind tolerant such as catmint and grasses.
Creating a Garden in a Small Space
Arrange your pots and planters to make the best use of the light. You may decide to move plants around to follow the sun if you’re at home during the day. Lightweight containers made from plastic or fiberglass are easier to relocate if this is the case. However, damp soil weighs a lot so it’s best to choose permanent locations for each plant.
Install deck boxes on porch railings and hang baskets from hooks. Use plant stands to add height to the area. Add a trellis to grow vining plants like ivy or beans.
Pre-mixed potting soil that is formulated for container gardens is the best choice. Garden centers and hardware stores carry these blends. If you’re growing vegetables, look for an organic potting mix.
Maintaining Your Garden
Check your garden daily as container plants dry out more quickly, especially if you are using clay pots. If you garden on a balcony, place your container-grown plants on a plate or saucer to catch the water so that it doesn’t overflow to the ground or neighbor below. After a significant rain, empty any saucers that are full.
Due to the frequent watering schedule, container plants require fertilizer on a more consistent basis than plants in the ground. Use organic fertilizers like blood meal, bone meal, or fish emulsion, as chemical fertilizers harm insects and wildlife.